Get Involved! Here are a few ways to improve your community—and yourself

We hate to keep bringing this up, but it wasn’t all that long ago that we were stuck inside with little to do but binge TV shows and perfect sourdough starter. When COVID struck, our lives instantly deflated, then slowly refilled with social media and streaming services. We lost our community connections, and in a way, we disconnected from ourselves.

Enough of that. While COVID is still skulking around out there (and, by the way, you should strongly consider getting that fall booster, and hang onto those masks in case there’s a surge), it’s time that we reinvested time and effort in the world outside, in ways that can enrich both our neighbors and ourselves. That means volunteering for local entities, groups and organizations that always require help—some even more so now, with our post-COVID world as fractured as it is—but it also means getting out and having fun, interacting with old friends and friends you haven’t yet made. It means getting involved.

Here are some ways you can get involved with your city. It’s by no means a complete list of the charities, social groups and playing fields that would be glad to have you, but we think it’s a good place to start. We’ll see you out there.

Helping your city


There are few more immediate ways to help your community than picking up its trash. According to a 2021 study by Keep America Beautiful (, there are nearly 50 billion pieces of litter scattered across the country—or 152 pieces for every citizen. We haven’t done a scientific poll on this, but we suspect that if we asked you if you prefer your parks, trails and public spaces covered in garbage, you’d say “nah.”

The Las Vegas Valley is festooned with the trash of tourists and locals alike, so we have a good number of volunteer organizations devoted to picking it up. City of Las Vegas residents can go full Wall-E on their neighborhoods through the Adopt-A-Spot program (, and a similar program is available in Henderson ( Get Outdoors Nevada organizes multiple cleanups of the Valley’s parks and trails every month; see for sign-up details. And if you’d like to lend a hand in keeping Red Rock Canyon’s trails pristine, visit –Geoff Carter


There are many ways to help the unhoused community in the Valley, and one of the best ways is donating to and volunteering with organizations that are already embedded in that work.

In the heart of the Corridor of Hope north of Downtown, where homeless services are concentrated, Catholic Charities is always seeking volunteers to help with its daily community meal service. It also has a list of items needed for in-kind donations at Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Across the street, CARE Complex ( helps the unhoused population with essential services including identification assistance, locker storage, mail services, internet and phone access. Their website has a list of in-kind donations that can be dropped off during operating hours. They’re also seeking volunteers in a variety of functions including sorting donations, overseeing the locker storage program and teaching life skills classes.

Just south on Las Vegas Boulevard, United Movement of Kindness is seeking volunteers for its monthly community relief event, which takes place the third Saturday of each month and provides haircuts and showers. Those who are interested can sign up on the nonprofit’s website The website also has information about how companies can donate items.

And the Shade Tree (, which serves homeless women and children, accepts in-kind donations by appointment. The nonprofit also is seeking volunteers to help with activities and meals for clients, teaching life skills, data entry, sorting donations and transportation. Those who are interested can fill out an application on their website. –Shannon Miller


If you’re looking to make your voice heard in public meetings, the Board of Clark County Commissioners’ meetings every first and third Tuesday of each month would be a good place to start.

The meetings follow an agenda posted online before the meeting and discuss matters impacting the community, including the creation of local ordinances and regulations. Agendas can be found on Clark County’s website (just Google “Clark County meeting agendas”).

Public comment can be given at the Clark County Government Center and varies, depending on which agenda item you want to comment on. If the item is marked “For Possible Action” on the agenda, you’re asked to fill out and submit an interest card located at the front of the commission chambers. If the item isn’t listed as “For Possible Action,” you’re asked to wait until the public comment period at the end of the meeting, which can last hours.

When stepping up to the podium in front of the Board of Commissioners, commenters are asked to clearly state their name, address and spell their last name for the record. A three-minute time limit on comments can be extended by the Chair or a majority of the Board.

Cities within Southern Nevada, including Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, hold their own City Council meetings with varied ways for people to watch and give public comment online and in person. More information is available on their respective city websites. –SM


“Without officials, there’s no games,” Vince Kristosik likes to say, and he’s right. “You can have the coaches ready, the bus drivers, the school police, but without officials, you can’t have a game.”

That’s where you come in. The Southern Nevada Officials Association (SNOA) is always in need of new officials—at the high school, middle school and even youth sports levels—and experience is not a prerequisite. “As long as someone pays attention and takes it seriously,” says Kristosik, SNOA’s president. “It’s good exercise, and you can pick up some supplementary income, so there’s no better time to get involved.”

To do so, head to and fill out the information form. You’ll soon be attending training sessions, and before long you can be out on the field or court for football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and more, earning $45-$73 per game. And if you’re not up for strenuous physical activity, don’t stress. SNOA also needs lots of auxiliary helpers—clock operators, scorebook keepers and the like—to keep the Valley’s countless athletic contests running smoothly, day after day. –Spencer Patterson


Here’s your chance to help ensure safe and fair elections in your community. The role of a poll worker is nearly as vital to democracy as the act of casting a vote. Election season is fast approaching, and Clark County needs volunteers now more than ever—to oversee voter registration, set up voting machines, answer voter questions and alleviate long wait times at the polls.

Volunteers are needed for Election Day, as well as the 14 prior days of early voting. The requirements are simple: You must be a registered voter or enrolled in high school (age 16 and over); you cannot be related to or be a candidate for election; and you cannot be a poll watcher. (And bilingual poll workers are always welcome—Spanish speakers, but also volunteers fluent in Tagalog and Mandarin.) Upon meeting the requirements, the Clark County Election Department will provide training, which we’re told generally takes about an afternoon to complete. Visit for details. –Gabriela Rodriguez


Five statewide ballot measures have been certified to appear on Nevada’s ballot in 2024, meaning voters will have five more opportunities to get involved in the legislative process. But how did they get there in the first place? The answer is kind of complicated, but it helps to break down types of petitions that lead to a ballot measure—initiatives and referendums.

Statutory initiatives seek to create a new law or amend an existing state or local law. They start as a petition, which must be filed with the Secretary of State prior to circulating. If they get a designated number of signatures (at least 10% of registered voters who voted at the last preceding general election), they can go to the Legislature for a vote. “If the Legislature approves the initiative, it becomes law. However, if the Legislature rejects the initiative or fails to act on the initiative within 40 days, the initiative is presented to the voters at the next general election,” reads the Secretary of State’s website.

Not all statutory initiatives have to go through the Legislature. Petitions that seek to amend the Nevada Constitution can go immediately to the general election ballot, if they get enough signatures.

Referendums seek to approve or disapprove an existing state or local law. They also start as a petition filed with the Secretary of State prior to circulating, and require a number of signatures that equals at least 10% of voters who voted in the last general election. But rather than going to the Legislature, they go straight to the state’s general election ballot.

Complete information about how to qualify for a statewide ballot measure is available from the Secretary of State’s website, –SM


Potholes, graffiti, deserted vehicles, trash and noise from short-term rentals are some the common problems we often come across while going about our day. These issues might seem small, but it’s a good idea to tackle them sooner rather than later, before they grow into bigger, more entrenched problems. Fortunately, there’s a convenient way to report these issues immediately and make sure they’re addressed swiftly.

FixIt Clark County is an app that invites the county’s residents to report various issues within its jurisdiction. Help requests can include those issues named above, along with animal control, broken streetlights, water leaks and more. The requests are then relayed to the appropriate entity—code enforcement, business licensing, public works and so on. You provide photos and details, and the user-friendly GPS feature allows the County to pinpoint the exact location of the problem. The app even provides status updates.

Fixit Clark County is available for both iPhone and Android; visit for more information. –GR

Helping Yourself


The pickleball thing is crazy. In recent months, this oddball hybrid of badminton, ping-pong and tennis, played with a lightweight, Wiffle-like ball, has exploded in popularity. Locals of all age groups have taken up the sport. Pickleball courts have sprung up in parks across the Valley, from Skye View to Oak Leaf. Sunset Park boasts an entire pickleball complex, with 20 courts open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. And Dapper Companies is partnering with Eureka Restaurant Group to open Electric Pickle—a luxe restaurant, bar and pickleball concept—at Dapper’s Bend entertainment and retail complex in southwest Vegas sometime next year.

The reason for pickleball’s meteoric rise in Vegas is the same as its ascent everywhere else: It’s a fun social activity. The racket and balls are relatively inexpensive. The learning curve isn’t terribly steep, and the intensity of play is adjustable—you can play a fast, competitive game and enjoy it, or a pokey, easygoing game and enjoy that, too. The potential for social interaction is high; you need at least one other person to play (but, ideally, three others), and according to folks who play at Sunset Park, it’s not at all unusual for players to show up alone and find partners. And novices don’t need to worry about jumping in at the deep end, because experienced pickleball players seem only too happy to share what they know.

Pickleball is currently the hottest of what we’ll call the “social sports,” but it’s not the only game you can play while engaging in conversation and good-natured smack-talking. Electric Pickle will also feature regulation courts for bocce, the Italian lawn bowling-like game that you can play today on one of the 10 courts at Justice Myron E. Leavitt & Jaycee Community Park, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. (Bocce sets, like pickleball gear, are inexpensive and available at most sporting goods shops and on Amazon.) It, too, is a very social game—though with the Italian American Club just steps away, it can get a little bit competitive, in a good way. Visit to learn more. –GC


Ah, so you’re the bookish and board-gamish type, are ya? Well, there’s plenty of ways to connect with your literary and board game communities.

The Writer’s Block ( hosts a plethora of book clubs every month, tailored to a variety of interests. There are book discussions paired with whiskey, cookbook book clubs, Latinx book clubs, graphic novel book clubs—the list goes on. There’s no registration process; simply show up, having (preferably) read the book, and ready to indulge in engaging conversation.

The Valley’s libraries are also a reservoir of themed book clubs. The libraries offer monthly book clubs covering classic lit, quick read clubs featuring short poems and impactful novel chapters, manga book clubs and more. Find the reading lists at

If you prefer dice towers to bookmarks, Meepleville Board Cafe ( hosts board game meetups on Wednesdays, where games will be set up for play, including the fast-paced strategy title Werewolf. And social games of euchre happen every Thursday. Pay a $10 nominal fee and you’re in.

Vegas’ LGBT boardgamers also have some fun options. Las Vegas Gaymers, an LGBTQ+ video gaming group, holds monthly meetups at Meepleville, as well as a monthly table-top day at Henderson Equality Center. Check the group’s Instagram for upcoming events at–Amber Sampson


The easiest way to engage with the arts in Las Vegas, whether they’re onstage or on the gallery wall, is to simply show up. Attend gallery openings; check out theatrical productions; see local bands; experience weekend arts fairs; explore the Valley’s museums. The next level of support is financial—making onetime or recurring donations to arts groups, sticking a few bucks in the donation jar at events, or simply giving money to the artists directly, either by purchasing their work or by seeking out their Patreon accounts. But if you’re strapped for cash, another great way to engage with the arts—both as a supporter and as a fan—is to volunteer.

The Smith Center is looking for ushers, ASL interpreters, tour guides and more; visit to learn more. UNLV’s Barrick Museum ( could use help in admin, collections, guest services and many other areas. The City of Las Vegas’ Office of Cultural Affairs needs you to help run Concerts in the Park, cultural festivals and other open-air events, especially in the busy fall and winter; see for details. And First Friday (, the Springs Preserve ( and the Burlesque Hall of Fame ( are all looking for helpers.

Even in a metropolis of 2.3 million people, support for Vegas arts has traditionally been spare. If you’re at an arts and culture event and grateful to be so, find someone in charge and ask how you can help with the next one. As a side benefit, you’re pretty much guaranteed to meet people who share your interests. And if not at this event, then at the next one—which you helped to make happen. –GC


Adopting or fostering a furry friend is one of the most rewarding acts of service you can do, both for your community and for your own home.

“Shelters and rescues are overflowing with requests to take in animals, and when you adopt you not only save a life, but you open up a space for another life to be saved,” says Nikki Martinez, director of feline solutions at Hearts Alive Village.

And fostering a pet temporarily is just as impactful. “Our foster parents are the bridge from life on the streets for these animals to life in a forever home,” Martinez says. “Fostering is a great way to test out having that animal in your care without making the commitment of adopting.”

How to Foster

Apply to foster online (, and staff will find the right foster for you.

Pet supplies (food, litter, bedding and toys) are covered by Hearts Alive Village, as well as medical costs (spay/neuter, vaccinations and so on).

How to Adopt

Apply to adopt online (, and staff will contact you.

Expect foster parents to aid in the screening process.

Adoption fees range around $100, but consider medical, boarding and pet sitting costs. Pet insurance is recommended for any unexpected health expenses.

Should I adopt or foster if …

… I don’t have a yard? Yes! “We have older dogs, large and small, that … do very well in apartments, as long as they can be taken out for potty breaks,” Martinez says.

… I already have a pet in the home? Most foster parents do already have pets. Just ensure your new animal can isolate in a separate area during the quarantine period, which lasts up to two weeks.

… My work schedule is intense, and my hours are irregular? Avoid newborn animals because they might require bottle feeding, Martinez says. Opt for older, adult animals that can eat on their own.

… I have a very active lifestyle, and I’m accustomed to being outdoors? “If you’re an outdoorsy person, and you want to have a companion with you, you can borrow a dog for the day and take a dog on a field trip,” Martinez says. “It not only helps them get exposure to show other people that the dog’s available for adoption, but it also helps them mentally, so they’re not stuck in a kennel all day.”

… I have a small child or baby? With proper supervision, exposing young animals to kids can be great, Martinez says. It allows them to get used to possible children in their forever home.

… I am a senior who lives alone? There’s plenty of senior and adult pets that would match up great with a senior owner’s lifestyle. Just avoid the jungle kittens. –AS

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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